Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 14th Dec 2013 00:14 UTC
Games

As promised, Valve has released the first test release of SteamOS. From the FAQ:

SteamOS is a fork (derivative) of Debian GNU/Linux. The first version (SteamOS 1.0) is called 'alchemist' and it is based on the Debian 'wheezy' (stable 7.1) distribution.

The major changes made in SteamOS are:

  • Backported eglibc 2.17 from Debian testing
  • Added various third-party drivers and updated graphics stack (Intel and AMD graphics support still being worked on)
  • Updated kernel tracking the 3.10 longterm branch (currently 3.10.11)
  • Custom graphics compositor designed to provide a seamless transition between Steam, its games and the SteamOS system overlay
  • Configured to auto-update from the Valve SteamOS repositories

You need to have an NVIDIA card for it to work, since Intel and AMD graphics are currently not yet supported (work is underway).

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Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Sat 14th Dec 2013 03:29 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Some interesting stuff going on here. These quotes say it all:

To access the SteamOS desktop, it must be enabled from the Steam Settings menu.


Looks like it boots straight to the Steam app with no other DE -- i.e. a console-like experience.

Why is SteamOS built on Debian and not Ubuntu? --
Building on top of the Debian core is the best way for Valve to deliver a fully custom SteamOS experience to our customers.


They don't want to follow in Ubuntu's steps.

All Steam applications execute using the Steam Runtime which is a fixed binary-compatibility layer for Linux applications. This enables any application to run on any Linux distribution that supports the Steam Runtime without recompiling.


They're using a shim-layer to sit Steam upon; likely necessary for sharing Windows/Linux compatibility with the same code base.

Reply Score: 6

RE: Comment by Kroc
by xfce_fanboy on Sat 14th Dec 2013 03:47 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
xfce_fanboy Member since:
2013-04-09

Choosing Debian over Ubuntu avoids the additional bloat that Ubuntu has over Debian, and frees Valve from having to work with Canonical. I have a lot of respect for what Canonical's done to make Linux viable as a desktop OS, but Valve needs the freedom to unhitch its wagon from a for-profit company like Canonical when their goals don't coincide. No need for Unity in Steam OS, and Valve may see a future need to choose Wayland over Mir as the future display server.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Sat 14th Dec 2013 17:27 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Yeah, Ubuntu has chosen to go alone when it comes to the display server graphics stack with Mir. I can't imagine a company so heavily invested in graphics display would give Canonical complete control, when the rest of the software stack is heading towards Wayland. Heck with Debian they could stay on X forever, if they wished.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by Kroc
by allanregistos on Mon 16th Dec 2013 04:05 in reply to "RE: Comment by Kroc"
allanregistos Member since:
2011-02-10

Choosing Debian over Ubuntu avoids the additional bloat that Ubuntu has over Debian, and frees Valve from having to work with Canonical. I have a lot of respect for what Canonical's done to make Linux viable as a desktop OS, but Valve needs the freedom to unhitch its wagon from a for-profit company like Canonical when their goals don't coincide. No need for Unity in Steam OS, and Valve may see a future need to choose Wayland over Mir as the future display server.


Please, do not use Valve's choosing of Debian over Ubuntu to show your hatred towards Canonical.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Comment by Kroc
by pgeorgi on Sat 14th Dec 2013 10:22 in reply to "Comment by Kroc"
pgeorgi Member since:
2010-02-18

"All Steam applications execute using the Steam Runtime which is a fixed binary-compatibility layer for Linux applications. This enables any application to run on any Linux distribution that supports the Steam Runtime without recompiling.


They're using a shim-layer to sit Steam upon; likely necessary for sharing Windows/Linux compatibility with the same code base.
"
The explanation sounds like it's for Linux-Linux compatibility. That "shim" is probably just a set of "known good" libraries in given versions and configurations, no matter what the distribution itself is using.

ABI compatibility can be a pain at times.

Reply Parent Score: 4